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'Father of LSD' Albert Hofmann dies aged 102

Albert Hofmann, the chemist who discovered LSD, died yesterday at Basle in Switzerland aged 102. Known as the 'Father of LSD', Hofmann has made hippies, musicians and bored teenagers in small towns happy since the 1940s.

Hofmann discovered LSD - lysergic acid diethylamide - accidentally during a laboratory experiment in 1943. The good doctor subsequently experienced the world's first ever Acid trip which he described in his book LSD: My Problem Child. "In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colours. After some two hours this condition faded away."

A few days later Hofmann intentionally got off his box on LSD experiencing the world's first 'bad trip': "My surroundings had now transformed themselves in more terrifying ways. A demon had invaded me, had taken possession of my body, mind, and soul. I jumped up and screamed, trying to free myself from him, but then sank down again and lay helpless on the sofa. The substance, with which I had wanted to experiment, had vanquished me."

LSD became the drug of choice of the hippy movement in the 1960s, eulogized by the writer Timothy Leary who coined the phrase "turn on, tune in, drop out" to promote the benefits of LSD. However, Hofmann had hoped that the drug would be used for medicinal rather than recreational purposes.

The substance was banned in the US in 1966 following reports of permanent psychological damage, and other countries soon followed the example by banning the substance. But enough LSD still got around to produce the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour and Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

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